KENNEWICK, Wash.- Rising healthcare costs are hitting local businesses hard, and affecting their customers.
Fewer and fewer companies in Washington are offering health insurance to their employees.
In fact, one-third of the businesses in the state no longer off health coverage to full-time employees.
The main reason for the drop is that companies are seeing huge increases in premium costs every year.
Many firms find they have to reduce or cut coverage just to stay in business.
"Our health insurance costs over the last five years have gone up 67 percent, over the last five years. Hade we not changed insurance companies and had we not decreased our coverage this last year, it woulda been 90 percent," said Dean Strawn, owner of Dependable Janitors.
The Washington State Employment Security Department is coming out with a report early next year.
The study is expected to show that 2006 marks the third year in a row the state has seen a drop in the number of businesses that offer health insurance to their employees.